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As far as birthday presents go, it probably doesn’t get much better than a first-round submission win in a championship bout.
Or at least that’s what one would think, judging by defending champ Raufeon Stots’ singing and dancing after choking out Arnold Berdon in Victory FC 59’s headlining affair, a Saturday event that streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from Baxter Arena in Omaha, Neb.
Berdon (6-2) was no push-over, showing some quality striking in brief exchanges. Stots (9-1), however, was smart enough to minimize his risks and repeatedly guide the fight to where he had the control – whether it was against the cage or, ultimately, the ground.
It paid off late in the first round, when a rear-naked choke proved too tight for Berdon to fight off.
Stots, who recovered from the 15-second knockout that put an end to his air of invincibility at Ring of Combat 59 in June, celebrated the win in style. He started his own unique “Happy Birthday” chorus and then proceeded to ask for a call that would certainly make the occasion even merrier.
“Everybody knows I want to be in the UFC,” Stots said. “I slipped up in my last fight, but I’m back. I had to change my mindset. I learned a lesson and I’m better from it. I’m out here. I’ve got my winning mindset back. I’ve got my finishing mindset back, and I’m ready to go.”
Stots and Berdon wasted no time studying each other, engaging in some early striking at the start of the bout. Approximately 30 seconds into the match, though, Stots showed his intentions when he pushed Berdon against the cage, though the mobile challenger managed to escape. Halfway through the round, Berdon threw a good combination that had the champ walking backward. While nothing seemed to land flush, it did seem to taper Stot’s aggression – up until he charged for a takedown.
Shortly after, they were back against the fence. While Berdon once more squirmed his way out, Stots seemed to always find a way to reclaim control. As the two went back to the center of the cage, it was Berdon who took control of the exchanges. Stots, however, once more made no secret of his intentions, shortening the distance and making his way to Berdon’s back as the final 30 seconds approached.
Berdot tried to fight off the rear-naked choke but eventually relented and tapped.
Yuri Villefort may have needed all five rounds to earn Victory FC’s welterweight title back in April, but it took a lot less than that to defend it for the first time.
More precisely, champ Villefort (11-5) needed only 29 seconds to sink in the guillotine choke that ended Victory FC 59’s welterweight co-headliner against the experienced Victor Moreno (39-23).
Moreno came out swinging early but threw only a couple of punches before stumbling. Unfortunately for Moreno, he offered his neck in the process, and Villefort wasted no time cranking it to get the tap.
After the bout, the 26-year-old champion celebrated the fact he was going to get to see his mom and his dad, who just got out of the hospital, for Christmas.
“I got my first belt, I defended the belt,” Villefort said. “Now I’m the champion.”
The win marked yet another great chapter in Villefort’s remarkable career turnaround. A UFC and Strikeforce vet, Villefort saw a promising early run turn sour with a five-fight skid that stretched from 2012 to 2015. His recovery, however, has been swift, with three finishes and two victorious title outings among his past five wins.
Victory FC 59 results include:
Filed under: News
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